Father Of Murdered Schoolchild, Damilola Taylor, Calls For Higher Tax On Violent Games. Once again we find ourselves between the two stools of empathetic understanding and wanting to give someone a good hard slap in Blighty this week, as a sympathetic nation watches a knee jerk reaction runs head-long into kicking commonsense.
In a move that would have had a blind man saying ‘I know, Shep’ as his seeing-eye-dog warned of its approach, the video game sector has once again been hauled up before the condemning eyes of the moral majority and flung prostrate upon the mercies of an audience no judge would listen to anyway.
Richard Taylor, an advisor to Gordon Brown on knife crime, has put forth the motion that a higher tax on the more violent of games released would help reduce knife crime in the UK.
Now, I will give you a moment to consider that statement, and compare it to another one I have prepared for you;
If they put a higher tax on pornography, the rate of teenage pregnancies would drop.
Now it isn’t the sentiment I have difficulty with here – after all, the sad story of Richard Taylors son, Damilola Taylor, who was needlessly killed on November 27th 2000 by a group of children was a shock to the system of most British people, more something out of a Quentin Tarantino film than that an English county – and something clearly needs to be done to help stem the tide of endless chav-alanches hitting the streets and shopping centres of an evening the length and breadth of the country, the night skies slowly filling to their cries of ‘Whut? WHUT??’ But is this really the most effective way of dealing with a problem that goes further than fashionable Burberry and Manhunt?
“…(they) feel that the law has no control over them. They just feel that they can go on the streets and do whatever they like.” Quote.
The sad truth is kids are being bought up with a sense of self entitlement and boundless freedom that would have Elton John fanning his disbelieving crapulence with a many ringed big round hand, their rights clearly laid out before them at every turn and their wrongs hastily swept under the Magic Carpet ride at the court-ordered trip to Disneyland.
But lets not be too hasty; maybe it’s every generations right to bitch and complain and say how worse this current generation is compared to ‘back in their day’, when all they did was have unprotected sex with nameless strangers in a drug induced haze of world changing panoramas and long daisy chains in their tresses, or slice up some Mod on the beaches of Brighton like that summer when they met Beryl in some tea bar they were robbing. Can we really believe all those years we spent in our youth, exposing our small developing minds to the machinations and whims of a Japanese developer by the name of Miyamoto, weren’t in some way compromised in puberty and thus now we stumble troll-like through life as mere drones of empty vessels, incapable of anything but the most basic of human functions?
‘I have young people who I mentor and I see them go up and buy the games and it saddens me that they are being able to have such a negative impact.’ Quote.
There is so much wrong with this one sentence, that I genuinely cannot believe it is a real quote.
‘I see them go up and buy the games…’
I challenge anyone to attempt to buy a game that clearly is too old for them, without the help of stressed-out parental figure or friend-behind-the-counter. Most high street chains wouldn’t risk the inevitable high school shooting headlines, and thanks to ‘personal responsibility’ being eschewed in favour of blaming somebody else and then taking them through the courts, retailers now charge their staff with the power of choice, namely the choice of being arrested if they sell an 18 rated product to some school cap sporting kiddie-wink.
Maybe, you say, but clearly kids ARE playing them and clearly kids ARE being influenced by them. These violent games appeal to kids, and no matter how much they attempt to turn every game front into a plethora of warnings and ratings designed to be understood by the most simplest of souls, kids will still get their hands on them and play them.
Thanks to the very tool that defines this generation, the internet opens up all doors previously barred to those who should not tread foolishly into the world of the adult, any number of visceral violent delights now a single click away, a game being banned now nothing more than an omen the torrent sites will be clogged tonight.
There is nothing more appealing than that which you cannot have, and if you throw guns and headshots and the prestige of ownership into the mix then that’s one weird cake but it comes in big slices and has many flavours of choice. And when you’re trying to figure out who you are and where you fit in the world, you will occasionally over indulge and try to bite off more than you can chew, and be left with a mouthful of broken teeth and spit.
Murder, especially that of a child, is an inexcusable act of barbarism, but attempting to cure an illness requires first some understanding and perspective of the particular problem. Merely slapping a few extra pounds onto the price of the next GTA or MANHUNT at the till doesn’t seem like a move that will do anything more than increase the prestige of the game in the minds of those too young to buy it, and piss off the rest of us who still fail to see just how this was supposed to be effective.
Not to worry, though; ‘Mr Taylor also told MPs that he was concerned about the content of much rap music.’
This is Britain, 2009…